SWEET: Intake of sweeteners and sweetness enhancers in relation to health and disease. A population-based approach, a HORIZON2020 project, 2018-2023
Deleterious health effects of Sweeteners and Sweet Enhancers (S&SE’s) are of huge public and scientific interest. Government and health authorities have suggested new sugar recommendations and guidelines as low as 5% of total calories from free sugars. However, most scientific studies conducted to date to assess associations between sugar intake and risk of chronic diseases focused on the intake of sugar sweetened beverages, and not on foods as levels of added and free sugars were not widely available. Recently, a sugar database was developed to quantify amounts of added and free sugars in foods, which now provides the opportunity to take these levels into account. Also, previous studies were predominantly carried out in the United States, and not in the in European context. Besides the health effects of added sugar to foods, health effects of low-calorie sweeteners, commonly used as sugar substitutes are largely unknown. Generally sweetener intake levels are not captured by standard food frequency questionnaires. A newly validated biomarker tool will be developed at Wageningen University to measure intake levels of low-caloric sweeteners in urine samples. Both, the new sugar database as well as the novel biomarker tool will be used to assess the associations between S&SE’s for obesity, health and safety in European and overseas (healthy and patient) populations.